What is I-BEST?

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) has developed the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) initiative to help underserved populations achieve a livable wage.  Basic skills (Adult Basic Education/General Equivalency Diploma/English Second Language) students entering academic and professional programs are at a disadvantage.  Not only do they lack certain academic skills, but they have often been sheltered in the basic skills classroom, where instruction is paced to the students’ needs rather than to curriculum goals.  These students often go into the professional-technical classroom with less vocabulary, struggle to follow lectures, lack familiarity with U.S. academic culture, and often feel isolated from their peers.

How does I-BEST work?

The first step (after a program is selected) is collaboration between the technical and English basic skills instructors to work on curricula that integrates basic skills competencies with those of the technical program.  In order for the program to qualify as an I-BEST, there must be 1.75 FTE, the state requires a 50% overlap in instructional time. This means that both content and basic skills instructors must be present in the classroom for at least half of the total time of instruction.  At other times the content instructor or the basic skills instructor would be teaching solo.

I-BEST In Agriculture And Natural Resource Programs?

There are currently four approved agriculture and natural resource I-BEST programs:

Community Forestry – Green River Community College (Currently Unavailable)

This certificate program prepares graduates to work in vocations requiring skills and knowledge to protect and manage green spaces, parks, recreation areas, riparian zones, wetlands, wildlife management areas, and forest reserves in urban and suburban environments.

Industrial/Laboratory – Lake Washington Technical College

The Industrial/Laboratory certificate program will prepare students for employment in the Industrial or Laboratory sectors. Students will learn the basics behind good lab practices that will be useful for managing and working within a laboratory setting such as healthcare, agricultural labs, wet labs, or other analysis careers, as well as information about energy, process control, and the impact of industry/laboratory on the environment. The certificate is targeted at individuals seeking fundamental knowledge that can be applied in the industrial or laboratory sciences.

Landscape Horticulture – South Puget Sound Community College (Currently Unavailable)

Basic background in horticulture and business practices are required to obtain entry-level employment in the landscape industry or to start a business. This program focuses on sustainable landscape practices that conserve and protect limited resources, with hands-on training which is a major component of the certificate. Students can select from landscape design, landscape installation and landscape management areas of specialization.

Watershed Ecology – Walla Walla Community College

Watershed Ecology blends natural resource knowledge with the applicaiton of cutting-edge technology. Technicians will be skilled in identifying, assessing, restoring, and managing habitat needs for healthy ecosystems. The industry emphasizes environmental restoration for fish and wildlife populations.

Best Practices

Wenatchee Valley College (WVC) developed and implemented an innovative outreach program to meet industry needs, the Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program (HOEEP).  The HOEEP program provides Latino workers the opportunity to acquire technical agricultural education in Spanish, as well as increase their management and communication skills.  The Agriculture Worker Outreach Model was built upon WVC’s successful HOEEP training program.  There are three critical elements to this Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language outreach program:  flexibility in delivery, instructor compatibility, and curricula integration.  The model promotes recruitment of underserved populations, an increase in skilled workers, and unique integration of degree programs.

Plant Science Career Pathways

What are Career Clusters and Career Pathways?

Career clusters identify the knowledge and skills students need as they follow a pathway toward their career goal. The Agriculture & Natural Resource Career Cluster is divided into seven career pathways. Pathways are grouped by common knowledge and skills required of occupations in the agriculture and natural resource career fields.

What are Career Pathway Diagrams?

Career pathway diagrams are used to reference what kind of job and average wage students can expect for each education level in the career path. In many career pathways, the highest level of education determines what type of job can be obtained and how much money can be earned.

Click on the college links to view specific career pathways in plant science. Information used to develop the career pathway diagrams was gathered January 2011 from Workforce Explorer. Specifically, the information was collected according to the Agriculture & Natural Resource Career Cluster by each college’s Workforce Development Area (WDA). Many of the occupations listed in the career pathway diagrams are in-demand within the individual college’s WDA.